Cleaning Windows With a Pole, Ladder, or Garden Hose?

What Do the Professionals Use?

There are all types of ways to attempt to clean windows, and not surprisingly they yield a wide variety of results. While some may be satisfied with the general removal of dirt and grime, others are very keen on having spotless, sparkling windows. This post will focus on cleaning hard-to-reach windows, inside or out. Professional window cleaners also do not automatically agree on the best tools or methods for complicated window cleaning. I have been cleaning windows professionally for a very long time and have been active on forums and social networks as well as at industry events. Let me tell you there are many valid ways to clean difficult-to-reach windows.

Extension Poles

There are many brands of extension poles and also many professional window cleaners who utilize them as their go-to tool for tough windows. The popularity of high-quality material, such as carbon fiber, has made it even easier to attain good results without being ‘nose to glass’ as many pros would say. Accessories are also available to give them an added advantage in getting to the bottom of deep ledges and navigating obstacles directly in the way of a straight shot at the glass. I have quite a bit of experience using extension poles and use them often when I feel this is feasible and expedient. Sometimes the conditions dictate using another means. Those conditions necessitating other methods include windows with residue or staining that can’t be removed easily or at all by using a scrubbing device attached to a pole; also windows that have obstacles in front of them that can’t be navigated with a pole. Still, under ideal or very good conditions, it is fairly simple to attain good results with the use of a pole from the safety of the ground.

Water Fed Poles

Water-fed poles have gained enormous popularity around the world in the last decade or two. I started using one as a regular thing in 2009 and haven’t looked back. While they are not the answer for every single window cleaning circumstance, they are truly a boon to many thousands of professional window washers. When used properly in conjunction with a water purification system, water-fed poles provide extremely good cleaning results, often better than with traditional hand tools and virtually always better than a homeowner spraying apparatus. They are a very safe alternative to being on a ladder and walking on roofs, some of which are pretty steep.
View from inside the house of window cleaning with waterfed pole.
With the homeowner’s permission, I took this picture from inside on the second floor. I’ve applied my cleaning solution to the inside of the glass and my employee is way down below, clear of rough terrain perfectly cleaning a window about 9′ above me and about 25′ from the ground with a water-fed pole using pure water. I could go on extolling the value of using a water-fed pole for delivering perfectly pure water to clean glass, but that can be for another post.


Would I be correct to say that most people dread getting on ladders? Probably! Some enjoy ladders, including me. It’s still not my first choice, but I’m fine as long as the setup is safe. One obvious benefit of laddering up to a window you need to clean is that you can clearly see what you’re doing and can carry many necessary items on a tool belt. This will remove the guesswork of whether there are smears or spots that you left on the glass. You also have a fair range of area that you can clean safely; up, down, right, and left.
On the other hand, working at heights is not for everyone. If you are really scared to work at heights it is best to avoid it if at all possible, as it can mess with your focus. Additionally, setting up a ladder safely is a discipline in itself and not to be ignored by any means. There is the issue of solid footing, lateral stability, safe angle for working, and possibly pedestrian and traffic safety. Ladder usage is a tried and true way to clean windows well, but certainly a serious responsibility for the user.

Garden Hose

How about spraying dirty windows with a garden hose? Many feel this is adequate to make windows look cleaner and get the dirt and grime off the glass. While spraying gravity-fed, well, or municipal water on windows with loose dust or dirt can help in getting them clearer, it is unlikely that the windows will look as good as they can look. There will almost surely be water spots left on the glass.  The water pressure coming out of a garden hose won’t really help remove greasy spots or baked-on contaminants. Even high-pressure water from a power washer is no substitute for a good cleaning agent to break up oily deposits or using some type of accessory to agitate tough contaminants. Excessive high pressure will just do damage to a window. Also, spider webs are not easily removed with merely a spray of water. There are some products on the market that claim to turn your garden hose into a window cleaning powerhouse for first and second-floor applications. These products, which connect to an incoming and outgoing garden hose, contain a formula that promises to thoroughly clean glass and perhaps even siding, leaving them sparkling and spot-free. Specific directions are given on how to use it and at what temperatures it will be effective, as well as a few disclaimers. Full disclosure, I have never tried this type of product; partly because I have my tried and true methods and partly because I don’t believe it will consistently live up to its claim. It would be good to simply read plenty of reviews about such products. It can’t be denied that if this works it would be a game-changer due to its ease of use and money and time-saving factors over scheduling a professional to clean your windows. But that is for each individual to decide.

How Much is it Worth to Have Really Clean Windows?

To conclude, getting your windows amazingly clean is going to cost you something. It will cost you at the least a modest amount of money for suitable products and tools, some of your time depending on the size and difficulty of the job, and an expenditure of energy, possibly labor-intensive.
There is also an option that would cost money, but no significant personal time or energy, to get yourself some beautifully clean windows. That would be having a professional take care of it for you.
Dan Wagner Window Cleaning serves homes and businesses in the Scranton, Carbondale, and Honesdale areas, and has for 36 years. If you’d like to save time and energy, we are the affordable window cleaning company to call.
You can call or text us at 5706300326.
You’ll like what you see!